Meet Richard: 2020 Family Advocacy Week Champion
Richard is participating in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week from August 10-14, 2020. Through this special event, Richard and his family will share information about his health journey, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s role in providing Richard with necessary health care services, and why the public and our elected officials must invest in the future of kids like Richard.
Richard was born 16 weeks early, weighing just 1 pound, 5 ounces. His lungs weren’t strong, he had a tear in his intestine and a small hole in his heart. Richard has chronic lung disease, asthma, environmental allergies, and developmental delay.
At 5 days old, he was transferred to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, for emergency surgery to repair the perforation in his small intestine. His lungs were severely underdeveloped due to his premature birth and low birth weight.
“This wrecked our family emotionally,” says Stephania, Richard’s mother. “We were given pros and cons of this major surgery on such a tiny baby. The odds were not in our son's favor."
Richard’s intestine healed on the outside of his body and once healed, required another surgery to return the intestine and continue healing. All of this occurred while he was still on a ventilator with no sign of breathing independently.
“The staff was and is so knowledgeable,” says Stephania. “They met us where we were and made sure we understood the decisions we had to make so that our son would live a normal life."
Today, Richard is doing well. He currently has migraines, asthma and environmental allergies. He is on daily medications. He is a funny and empathetic kid who loves playing with his Hot Wheels and Legos.